Reed Magazine February
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2003

A writer recognized

Ansary’s words flew straight to the heart of the matter, and his email was circulated so widely that it began within days to appear in the national media. He became an instant celebrity, with many high-profile TV appearances and numerous interviews in prominent newspapers and magazines.

It took him a while to believe that he could act as spokesman: “I stood at the crossroads; I think I did deliberately come to the decision that I actually have something to say in this situation that nobody else can say. So I have to embrace that role and to say, yes, come ask me any question—I’ll tell you what I think. And then everything else followed from there,” Ansary said.

Today Ansary lectures frequently and has been interviewed widely about Afghanistan after the Taliban, a subject he discussed this fall at a lecture at Reed.

All this attention has had one tangible outcome: it led to a book contract for a memoir. West of Kabul, East of New York was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2002. The Los Angeles Times called the book “urbane, accessible, and compulsively readable,” and the New York Times wrote that the book “speaks with modesty of home and is all the more resonant for that reason; it searches by sifting. Its unforced findings are at times inconclusive, and glitter at times.” In the book Ansary writes about his childhood in a walled compound in Afghanistan as the son of an Afghan father—an aristocratic government official—and a secular and feminist American mother. He writes about how his life changed when he came to America with his mother and sister at age 16, and he combines those stories with the tale of his first trip back to the Muslim world in 1980, where he tried to rediscover his roots and ended up seeing how much Islam had changed.

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Reed Magazine February
Go to Page 1 Page two, you are here go to page three Link to Reed Mag  Home

2003